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Court boots Veoh suit, steels DMCA

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Much to Google's delight, a federal judge has dismissed a porn infringement suit brought against online video site Veoh.com.

Adult entertainment outfit Io Group sued Veoh in 2006, after noticing the site was streaming ten of its flicks. The YouTube-esque Veoh hosts videos uploaded by other people. But, like so many other old school media companies, Io insisted that such a set-up shamelessly facilitates copyright infringement.

Naturally, Veoh claimed "safe harbor" under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and in the end, Judge Howard R. Lloyd agreed. "The record presented demonstrates that, far from encouraging copyright infringement, Veoh has a strong DMCA policy, takes active steps to limit incidents of infringement on its Web site and works diligently to keep unauthorized works off its Web site," reads his decision (PDF).

As the Judge points out, Veoh promptly removes infringing content when it receives take down notices, terminates the accounts of repeat infringers, and - using digital fingerprint technology - prevents the same content from being uploaded a second time. The company has even registered with the US Copyright Office as a Copyright Agent.

"These efforts actually go beyond the requirements of the DMCA safe harbors, and made it clear that Veoh was serious about responding to copyright infringement notices," says Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) legal mind Fred von Lohmann.

Io also argued the DMCA safe harbor was moot because Veoh transcodes each uploaded video into Flash. But Judge Lloyd scoffed at this too.

As von Lohmann points out, we've seen this sort of DMCA-challenging suit time and again. But this is the first case to get a final ruling. And Google is quite happy this final ruling has gone Veoh's way. "The DMCA protects services like YouTube that follow the law and respect copyrights," reads a statement from YouTube counsel Zahavah Levine. "YouTube has gone above and beyond the law to protect content owners while empowering people to communicate and share their experiences online."

The Google-owned YouTube is facing a $1bn copyright infringement suit Viacom and all sorts of other blinkered media outfits. ®

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